St. Jude Church

Mountain Top, PA

The parish of St. Jude replaced their existing church and parish administrative center with a new structure that better addresses the spatial and liturgical needs of the parish for the 21st century. The new church combines traditional church form with a post-Vatican II seating plan and accommodates 830 congregants. The church’s cruciform plan culminates in a central dome; the amphitheater-style seating forms a dished hemicycle. Similarly, traditional brick clad sidewalls contrast with fully glazed end walls, creating a light-filled sanctuary. Continuing this expression of contrasting the traditional with the new, historic stained glass windows were inserted into the glazed end walls and separated by stone-clad piers.
Across the front of the church, an arcaded office wing connects the north parking area with the spacious and light-filled narthex, (an extension of the nave). At the south, a double-lane porte-cochere allows covered vehicular access to the narthex and church. Two shrine rooms flanking the narthex separate the office wing from the church proper. The entire complex fronts the main road and nestles into the hillside below the existing school building. A pylon-style bell tower counter-balances the porte-cochere and historic statuary marks the central axis of the nave and church.
The site is the current site of an existing church, a school, a free-standing office and parish center building, existing parking and green space. Site development included demolition of existing structures, roadways and parking. The existing school / gymnasium building is to remain. New work included a loop road surrounding the new church and office structure and linking newly configured parking areas along with site access, new sidewalks, curbing and landscaping. Landscaped parking areas accommodate 340 cars including handicap accessible spaces.